Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, has begun preparations for a series of prescribed burns in the McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area (NSRA) near Antlers, Oklahoma in southeastern Oklahoma. The series of burns are planned for the spring and late fall. This project is in cooperation with the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Oklahoma Departments of Tourism & Recreation and Wildlife Conservation.
The reintroduction of fire into this popular backcountry recreation area will help restore the forest ecosystem by improving conditions for both plants and wildlife. By removing “litter” or fallen leaves and branches from the forest floor the regeneration and growth of the native understory plants is encouraged and the potential for a devastating, destructive wildfire is reduced.
OFS crews will begin constructing 17 miles of fire line around the perimeter of the area and they will utilize existing trails to create interior firebreaks. Special care will be taken around sensitive areas of the NSRA to have as little impact on the resource as possible.
“Preparation should begin within the next few weeks,” said Andy James, operations chief for Oklahoma Forestry Services. “Signs will be posted at the entrance of the NSRA letting visitors know areas where caution should be taken due to on-going prep work.”
Portions of the NSRA will remain open to visitors during fire line construction, but will be completely closed during a prescribed burn. Temporary closures will be posted on www.forestry.ok.gov and www.travelok.com websites. For more information on prescribed burns and benefits to the forest, visit www.forestry.ok.gov/rxfire or call 800-299-2468.
Posted on Tue, February 21, 2012
by Communications filed under